4 Easy Ways To Not Be The Obnoxious Passenger Other People Complain About

When the person in front of you leans back too far, you might as well take advantage of it. (photo: jendubin)

When the person in front of you leans back too far, you might as well take advantage of it. (photo: jendubin)

You know that old thing about how every group of friends has one big jerk and if you can’t identify that person, well… then tag, you’re it. Air travel isn’t that different.

Are you that guy who just shoves his too-large bag into the overhead the wrong way then sits in his seat blissfully ignoring when the flight attendant has to waste time rearranging it?

Maybe you’re that lady who doesn’t think at all about leaning against your aisle seat, shouting to her friends/family a few rows back, while waiting in line for the bathroom?

These are just a couple of the types of oblivious oafs called out in Jaunted’s round-up of annoying travelers and how to avoid being one.

Based on that story, here are some easy ways you can ensure that you’re not the jerk that other passengers are telling people about after they land.

1. Don’t eat aromatic food: This isn’t just about stinky food (though I will never get over the experience of sitting behind the family of six who packed multiple tuna salad sandwiches — heavy on the onion — for an interminable flight from San Francisco to NYC). Being stuck in such close quarters with any heavily scented foodstuffs is one way to guarantee that your fellow passengers will be crinkling their noses and craning their heads looking for the guy who brought a bucket of KFC on the plane with him.

2. Look behind you before reclining: Another amen on this one. Aside from massive turbulence or sudden drops in altitude, there are fewer things more disruptive than when the passenger in front of you slams her seat backward with total disregard to human decency.

Back in 2012, a Swiss Airlines flight en route from Zurich to Beijing had to turn around mid-flight after a dispute over a suddenly reclined seat (during mealtime, no less) escalated into fisticuffs, with one of the men being detained by authorities afterward.

3. Turn your bags back to front in the overhead: We alluded to this one above (and have written more about the whole roller-board suitcase plague in this 2013 piece), but it makes our blood boil every time we see one of our fellow passengers — especially the ones that try to behave like frequent travelers — just toss their carry-on bag in sideways into the overhead compartment. Have these people never noticed that other passengers and flight attendants inevitably reorient these bags so that they fit in the most efficient way.

The reason this arrangement is preferred isn’t just about maximizing space. In fact, in some cases it might be more efficient to turn your long bag sideways and have two or three other passengers put their smaller bags in front of it… at least until it’s time to get off the plane and your bag is stuck behind those smaller bags. Then you’ve got multiple people scrounging around in the same tiny space while hundreds of other passengers just want to get off the plane.

4. Wait until the row in front of you deplanes before deplaning yourself: We know that wherever you need to go is super important and much more important than any other passenger’s destination, but rushing into the aisle in a vain attempt to improve your deplaning position by three or four people is just going to annoy everyone else.

“If you happen to have a tight connection, be nice and quietly ask permission to go ahead,” writes Jaunted.

See the whole round-up on Jaunted.com.

You can now follow Chris on Twitter: @themorrancave

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  1. GoldHillDave says:

    Regarding #4: Be ready to go when it’s your turn! Have your belongings gathered, and, if possible, your bag retrieved from the overhead, or at least found and oriented so you can grab it on the way by while scarcely stopping. If you’re in the row in front of me and you’re still diddling around putting things away when you should be leaving, I’m going to courteously and efficiently dart by you and get out of others’ way and off the plane. Yes, I may have someplace important to go, quite possibly the restroom!

    Probably more important is to get the heck out of the aisle as soon as possible when boarding! If you’re holding up others you can and should step into the seat area while you put your bag in the bin. If it’s too heavy and bulky for you to do that, you probably should have checked it.

  2. FusioptimaSX says:

    #4 ALL DAY LONG. People need to learn to be patient and trying to work your way around me as I’m doing my due diligence to get my carry-on out of the over head bin as quick as possible is just plain RUDE. It rarely happens, but when it does, it REALLY pisses me off.